Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang take readers inside the complex court politics, alliances and rivalries within the company to shine a light on the fatal cracks in the architecture of the tech behemoth.
This is a book intended to make you outraged at Facebook. But if you’ve read anything about the company in recent years, you probably already are. Frenkel and Kang faced the challenge of unearthing new and interesting material about one of the most heavily debated communication tools of our modern age. More than 400 interviews later, they’ve produced the ultimate takedown via careful, comprehensive interrogation of every major Facebook scandal. An Ugly Truth provides the kind of satisfaction you might get if you hired a private investigator to track a cheating spouse: It confirms your worst suspicions and then gives you all the dates and details you need to cut through the company’s spin ... Frenkel and Kang’s addition to this overstuffed genre revisits all of the company’s known missteps; at times, reading it felt like a reprise of the greatest hits in Facebook journalism. But by weaving all those threads together, and adding new reporting from high-level meetings in Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C., the authors manage to effectively examine the shortcomings in the company’s leadership, structure and accountability. The book connects the internal drama and decision-making at Facebook with what we have all experienced on the outside ... Facebook employees have told me they’re nervous about the book’s release, and for good reason. Frenkel and Kang expose the dysfunction of its top ranks, revealing tensions between Zuckerberg and Sandberg.
The book is not the first to tackle these issues, but it adds a trove of rich detail that will be important in the ongoing assessment of social media’s impact on society and democracy ... The heart of the book, and its most compelling parts, involve the company’s discovery of Russian-generated disinformation on the platform during the 2016 election and the security team’s frustrated efforts to get their findings in front of Zuckerberg and Sandberg ... The drama between Facebook’s Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters and its Washington office will make the book fascinating for followers of tech policy.